The All Blacks are clearly beatable; but are the Wallabies good enough to do it?

Many believe the Wallabies have never had a better chance to win back the Bledisloe Cup, but a better proposition to ponder is whether they are actually good enough to do it.

One can only just recall the images of John Eales and then George Gregan holding the trophy aloft, memories that predate all the modern luxuries like smartphones, self-driving cars and, for those in the younger demographic, TikTok.

And it's that demographic that perhaps best reflects the challenges that the Wallabies and Rugby Australia face both on and off the paddock, beating the All Blacks and making the trans-Tasman rivalry relevant in rugby once again, with stand-in Test skipper James Slipper stating the poignant but bleedingly obvious as he stood in front of the media on Wednesday in Melbourne.

"We've got a couple of boys born the year we last won it," Slipper, who leads Australia for the fifth straight Test in Michael Hooper's continued absence, said.

"It's a long time. It works in our favour as well. These young players are coming in and haven't gone through the last 15 or 20 years playing the All Blacks. They have had some great teams over the last decade. This team is just as strong I reckon.

"For our players, they are just excited to get out there. Most of them haven't really played the All Blacks consistently and it sets up a really good match tomorrow because we're coming there to perform and I'm sure the All Blacks are too."

For the record, the youngest player in this current Wallabies group is the uncapped Langi Gleeson, who was born in 2001. The last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe was in 2002, so Slipper has been a little loose with the truth there.

But you get the picture.

It is true, however, that the All Blacks have had some great teams over the years -- perhaps none better than their 2015 World Cup-winning outfit that was littered with world-class talents at the top of their game -- but to suggest this current group is of the same calibre is Slipper treading a diplomatic line.

Rightfully, so, too, as in no way was Slipper ever going to come out and suggest this was a weak All Blacks outfit, just as New Zealand skipper Sam Cane ducked a question about claims in the Australian media that this was the Wallabies' best chance to win back the Bledisloe since they first lost it in 2003.

"Firstly, I wasn't aware of it [that talk], so I sort of focus on stuff in camp," Cane told reporters at the All Blacks' captain's run.

"The thing about the Aussies, it doesn't matter what's going on, they've always got plenty of confidence in themselves and their ability, and they've shown that time and time again in how they can front up.

"There's been some absolute classic matches in games that I've been involved in that go right down to the wire. And I expect the intensity to be right up there tomorrow night, right from the outset, I think it will be a brutal encounter and we're ready for it."

When analysing the All Blacks, the statistics tell you that this is indeed the Wallabies' best chance of winning back the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

As, before this season, the All Blacks had never lost three straight on home soil; they had never lost a home series to Ireland; and they had never lost to Argentina in New Zealand.

And, just like the Wallabies, they enter Thursday's night's Test with a 3-4 record this season.

But when you look at it through an Australian lens the situation is not so rosy, for after winning five straight midway through last year the Wallabies have since lost six of their last 10 Tests.

And that is clearly the challenge for this Australian group, as to regain the Bledisloe not only do they need to win at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night, but also again next week at Eden Park -- a venue where the Wallabies' drought stretches even further back to 1986.

"I've heard that commentary a fair bit but history tells us that they're a pretty hard team to beat," Slipper said when asked the same question as Cane, whether this was Australia's best chance to win back the Bledisloe.

"Historically they have had the wood on us for 20 years. Us as a playing group, we understand what's coming and it's going to be a hard task to win the Bledisloe. It starts tomorrow night here."

While there is no hiding from the statistics of 2022 on the All Blacks' side, the narrative that has dogged the Wallabies can't be easily swept aside either.

For not only are they plagued by inconsistency, but they have also had to navigate a dreadful run with injury, arguably the worst of any Australian outfit of the last decade.

The Wallabies are on their fourth fly-half; they have seen their skipper withdraw citing mental health reasons; and Samu Kerevi, their key strike backline weapon, was brought down by a fleeting Commonwealth Games stint.

All of that has contributed to the repatriation of some 30-odd-year-old veterans, and resulted in a squad that had Dave Rennie selected it at the start of 2022 he might have found himself joining the Centrelink queue or whatever its equivalent is back across the ditch.

But injuries are a reality of rugby, even if this season it has appeared more stark than ever.

So while there are cases to be made on both sides of the coin, logic suggests that even if the Wallabies were to win on Thursday night, their chances of bringing the Bledisloe back with them 10 days later remain remarkably slim.

But if not now, then when?

It might well take another full adolescent journey before a better opportunity comes along. Perhaps a time when phones have stopped getting smarter, cars are flying and the kids are all danced out from TikTok.

And that last one might never happen.